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Throat congestion. Cough drops provide temporary relief. Sinus surgery done. Causes for throat phlegm?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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I feel congested most of my waking hours. Not my nose, my throat. I have gritty phlegm that hangs in my throat. When I drink hot coffee or Coca Cola it seems to "open up" my throat. I have had a CT scan and sinus surgery(deviated septum and uvula amputation) last summer. The "grit" looks like salt and disolves quickly when it touches my fingers. Cough drops bring temporary relief. My nose feels fine, but the phlegm builds up in the back of my throat. I live about 225 miles from the Mayo Clinic. Please advise.....
Posted Mon, 16 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 9 hours later

Thanks for the query

Congestion in the throat could be due to various reasons such as allergy, sinusitis, acid reflux from the stomach, etc.
The description mentioned by you seems to be of post nasal discharge from the sinuses along with inflammation on the post pharyngeal wall (back of the throat). The "grit" like thing is the multiple lymphoid swellings developed on the pharyngeal wall to combat inflammation and infection on the pharyngeal wall.

To sum it up, you are suffering from pharyngitis (secondary to the sinusitis). I would suggest you to avoid both coffee as well as the coca cola. Both of the above beverages worsens your throat problem and increases the production of phlegm. Coffee will induce dryness of the throat and increases the production of phlegm from both the throat as well as the sinuses, whereas chilled coca cola causes spasm of the blood vessels on the mucosa leading to poor clearance of inflammatory mediators from the affected site.

Apart from this, you need to drink plenty of warm water, avoid cold beverages and oily food. You need to start on a course of good antibiotics (such as a combination of amoxycillin and clavulanic acid), anti inflammatory medicines (such as ibuprofen or diclofenac), a mucolytic (such as ambroxol or bromhexine) and saline nasal spray (to clear off, the thick discharge from the nose). Also, do steam inhalation to reduce the congestion of the sinus openings and the throat.

Hope I have answered your query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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